Anita Dongre is an Indian fashion designer born on 3rd October 1963. In the late 1980s when Dongre graduated from a designing course from Juhu's SNDT she noticed that there was a niche for trying to narrow the gap between clothes which were sold in India and those which were bought abroad. Dongre began with just two sewing machines in her bedroom creating her designs for family and friends before supplying her items to a store in Bandra, Mumbai. The items were very popular and soon they were being sold by numerous shops.
However, despite her clothes being popular, they were not branded. Shopkeepers were buying the clothes but then ripping off the labels before selling them. This is when Dongre came up with the brand AND, coinciding with the 1999 launch of India's first mall in Mumbai called Crossword and the advent of organised retail. From this her one-brand company grew and now Dongre has three signature labels including ANITA DONGRE TIMELESS, GRASSROOT and IINTERPRET as well as being the Creative Director for GLOBAL DESI and of course, AND. The label GLOBAL DESI offers affordable high-street fashion inspired by India. It uses Indian prints and motifs in the collections in a young and vibrant style. TIMELESS however, is the ultimate manifestation of her aim to create beautiful, hand-crafted and hand-embellished garments that showcase the heritage of Indian textiles in a timeless style.
Dongre often speaks of finding inspiration in various parts of the world, one of which is Instanbul. She says that the colour and vigour of Instanbul is similar to India but the culture is almost European. This mix of east meets west is something that is often noted in Dongre's work. She also takes inspiration from her roots in Jaipur, creating pieces that that reflect her fascination and admiration for traditional craftsmanship and heritage, her favourite textile being graphic ikat.
In a recent press release she highlights the importance of traditional Indian elements such as embroidery, fabrics and motifs that are now frequently used by international fashion designers as inspiration. Indian outfits are increasingly being pursued by international markets and this growing trend is something that Dongre is excited to be a part of.